- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ALASKA

Natives ask school to teach their language

HOMER — Alaska natives in Nanwalek want to add their dying language to the high school curriculum. The village’s last fluent speakers are asking the school to make Sugt’stun eligible for academic credit.

But the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District points to budget cuts, federal education standards and Nanwalek’s low test scores, saying the 200-person community must concentrate instead on subjects such as English and math.

ARIZONA

Utility’s bid to raise rates draws scrutiny

PHOENIX — The Arizona Public Service Co. is facing scrutiny by state regulators over its spending as it seeks an emergency rate increase of about $230 million from customers.

The utility spent $29.9 million on employee bonuses, more than $2 million on out-of-state travel and $410,000 on sports tickets in 2005 and 2006. The typical residential bill would increase 11 percent under the rate request.

FLORIDA

Caribbean reefs hit by bleaching, disease

MIAMI — Deadly diseases are attacking coral reefs across the Caribbean Sea after a massive surge of coral bleaching in the summer, a two-pronged assault that scientists say is one of the worst threats to the region’s fragile undersea gardens.

The attack, which is killing centuries-old corals, is the result of unusually hot water across the Caribbean region that some scientists argue is a consequence of global warming.

The unprecedented assault started in the summer with some of the highest water temperatures on record in the Caribbean, which caused coral to bleach from Panama to the Virgin Islands. Hot water stresses corals, causing the tiny animals to expel their symbiotic algae, which give corals their bright colors.

Scientists think bleaching weakens corals, leaving them susceptible to disease. In some Caribbean locations, 90 percent of corals were bleached, according to reef monitors. Coral can recover from bleaching when the water cools and the algae return to their hosts.

ILLINOIS

Sex offender pleads

guilty in girl’s death

CHICAGO — A convicted sex offender pleaded guilty yesterday to the 1998 murder of an 11-year-old girl, which drew national headlines when two young boys were accused of the crime.

Floyd Durr, who is serving a 125-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting other girls, was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

Ryan Harris’ body was found in a weedy lot on Chicago’s South Side a day after her July 27, 1998, disappearance. She had been molested and beaten.

Two boys, then 7 and 8, were accused in her death, and authorities said the two confessed. It took almost a month before the boys were cleared in the killing after tests showed semen on the girl’s clothing could not have come from them.

DNA tests later led prosecutors to charge Durr.

LOUISIANA

Charges dropped in police beating case

NEW ORLEANS — Prosecutors have dropped charges against a retired teacher who was beaten by New Orleans police during an arrest caught on videotape shortly after Hurricane Katrina, he and his attorney said yesterday.

Robert Davis, 64, had been charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.

The Oct. 8 beating by three police officers was captured on video by an Associated Press Television News crew covering the aftermath of the hurricane.

Mr. Davis had returned to New Orleans to check his property after the Aug. 29 storm.

Two fired officers and one current officer have been charged in the beating.

MAINE

HMS Bounty replica being restored

BOOTHBAY HARBOR — The HMS Bounty tall ship is in Maine for restoration work at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.

The three-masted replica of the 18th-century British ship was commissioned in 1960 by MGM Studios for the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty,” starring Marlon Brando. The vessel is now used primarily for educational purposes.

MICHIGAN

Prison locked down after disturbance

MARENISCO TOWNSHIP — Part of a state prison was locked down yesterday after an inmate protest turned violent, injuring 14 corrections officers, officials said.

The incident started when 35 prisoners in a medium-security section of the Ojibway Correctional Facility refused to leave a day room Sunday night.

About 15 of the inmates attacked officers, said Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections. The clash was quickly broken up, Mr. Marlan said.

None of the officers’ injuries was considered serious, though one was admitted to Grand View Hospital in Ironwood with chest pains.

The inmates involved were transferred to maximum security facilities and face criminal charges, Mr. Marlan said.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Bottled water urged after arsenic tests

PLAISTOW — Parents were asked to send bottled water to school with their children after trace amounts of arsenic were discovered at Pollard Elementary and Atkinson Academy.

State tests showed the water at both schools was just over the federal limit for the substance, which can get into well water through bedrock. Any water treatment needed won’t begin until summer.

NEW MEXICO

Mayor recalls Cheney being accidentally shot

ALBUQUERQUE — Years before Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a lawyer during a Texas quail hunt, Mr. Cheney himself was on the receiving end of an errant shotgun blast.

Carlsbad Mayor Bob Forrest said he doesn’t know for certain whether he or his twin brother, Dick Forrest, fired the shot during the hunting trip in the late 1990s. It accidentally pelted Mr. Cheney, who was then chief executive at Halliburton Co.

“We’re probably the only twins in the United States that have shot the vice president and never have gone to jail,” Mr. Forrest joked. The Albuquerque Journal reported the incident Sunday.

Mr. Cheney wasn’t hurt, but he was miffed, Mr. Forrest told the Journal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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